The following is not intended to accurately convey how quickly a victim comes to terms with the relationship between God and abuse. It is a highlighting of a victim's recognition of certain aspects of this, as they begin to heal in their relationship with the Lord. For the average victim, it usually takes several years to get to the level of understanding and healing denoted in the closing paragraph. Please bear this in mind as you read.
I love you, and you hurt me. You are an important part of my life, yet you yell, scream and cuss, beating me black and blue, sometimes breaking my bones. I'm your spouse, your child, your significant other, your cousin, your elderly parent, your charge. You put fear into my heart whenever I see you, not knowing if something I say or do will send you into another rage; or maybe it's because of what I didn't say or do that you wanted me to. You say such hurtful things to me, blaming me for your actions, and calling me things so terrible I could never repeat them. You approach me when I'm alone, touching me in ways that are unwanted, looking for satisfaction. Sometimes, you want others to join in your pleasures. You have your way with me, and I just want to run from you and wash you away; your smell, your touch, your breath. Somehow, no matter what, your scent and breath are putrid to me, making me nauseated at the first wisp, and I can't seem to rid myself of them.
"But he refused to listen to her, and since he was stronger than she, he raped her." (2 Sa 13:14*)
You demand perfection; everything I do must be done exactly right. You fear losing me, so you refuse to let me even glance at other people. My gaze must always be indirect, unless I'm looking at you. I've grown to hate looking at you. You want me to stay away from others, and keep me to yourself. You make me pretend nothing is wrong, threatening me if I don't smile and act like all is right with the world. You want me to be social, but guide conversations away from the hurt you cause me when we're alone together. You want me to be a leader and director in the world outside. I want to crawl under a rock and die. Can they see how dirty I am? Can they see how filthy you are? Do they know my dirt is what's rubbed off from you?
"He answered, 'I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.'" (Ge 1:10)
From before I can remember, I have been told that God is there for me through everything. He is there in the good times and the tough times. He helps me get through the biggest difficulties a person could be forced to endure. He doesn't want me to have to live through the hard times, but He will help me past them, just like a father is supposed to be there for his child. I've also been told that everything happens for a purpose. Nothing is by accident, and God knows it's going to happen before it does. I think about this, and it makes me angry. How can He just stand by and watch what's going on? Doesn't He care? The Bible says He loves us, loves me, but He lets you torture and torment me day after day. What purpose can this possibly serve? Does He love you that much more than He does me? What makes me worth so little, that He would let you do this to me?
"O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, and am not silent." (Ps 22:1)
I think about all those just like me, who endure similar pain. I think about all the victims of abuse, of disease, of earthquakes, of floods, of raging storms and fires. Who said they deserved such pain? Who said they didn't deserve a good life, free from these kinds of pain? What makes all of us less deserving than the rest of the people on this planet? Are we just toys to God, to use and abuse for His entertainment? Why did He give us a will to live and a mind to think with, if He was going to treat us this way? If God is real, He's not fair! I hate Him!
"Why, O Lord, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?" (Ps 10:1)
The other day, I saw a father with his toddler in the park. I couldn't help but watch them interact. The child kept testing the father, to see what his daddy would do. The father watched carefully, and told him not to climb the big rock by the pond, but the child kept climbing up. The father cautioned that he could get hurt, but the child continued. He climbed up, then jumped from the top of this rather large rock, despite his father's cautions. The child tried to climb again, and the father warned punishment if he didn't stop, because he could get hurt. He continued to climb, but slipped. He fell and scraped his knee. He ran to his daddy with his scrape, crying. His daddy kissed his knee, then hit his bottom for climbing the rock, explaining this and hugging him. His little boy was happy with that, then went to climb the rock again. His daddy warned, and the child again ignored, climbing to the top, and trying to jump off. Daddy took his arm, and spanked him a little harder, with no hug. He explained again all the ways he could get hurt, and he wasn't going to just let him. The boy was obviously not interested in what his daddy had to say, crying and grumbling. He led his child away from the rock, but the little boy pulled away and ran, with his father calling after him. Before his father could reach him, he had climbed the rock again, and jumped. The boy was so quick to jump, he didn't clear the rock quite right, and instead of landing safely on the ground, tumbled down the boulder's side. He ran to his daddy, who said, "I tried to tell you. I warned you again and again, but you wouldn't listen. This is what happens when you don't listen to your daddy." He carried his little boy away from the park, with the boy holding tightly to his neck.
"From the time I brought your forefathers up from Egypt until today, I warned them again and again, saying 'Obey me.'" (Je 11:7)
The boy and his father came along at a time I was struggling with thoughts about God. I now realize something; God has always been referred to as our Father, and He has constantly warned us not to do certain things throughout the Bible. He told Adam and Eve not to eat the forbidden fruit; He told the Israelites not to worship idols or intermarry with those who do. Just like that boy's father warned him of consequences when he wouldn't listen, God has warned us about consequences from the beginning of time. Just like what that boy's father warned could happen, happened, the things God has warned could happen, have happened. At least, that's what the Bible says.
"The Levites who went far from me when Israel went astray and who wandered from me after their idols must bear the consequences of their sin." (Eze 44:10)
God told Adam and Eve not to eat the forbidden fruit, but they did anyway. He knew they would, but He still gave them the choice. He didn't force them to do what they didn't want to do; not like you have done to me. Satan was there in the garden of Eden, and God knew he would cause Adam and Eve to sin, specifically for their hurt. God didn't try to stop him; even Satan has freedom to choose obedience or rebellion. God didn't even force him to do what's right either, He let Satan do what he planned to do. It was the same way with Pharaoh, and in other places in the Bible. Just like that boy's father couldn't make the choice for him to be obedient and not get hurt, God can't make choices for you or me, either. I see now, that's what the Bible says.
"If anyone chooses to do God's will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own." (Jn 7:17)
Even with what Adam and Eve and Satan did, God told them there would be consequences. As a serpent, the devil is forced to eat dirt forever. Adam was forced to work hard in order to get what is needed to survive. Eve was forced to endure excruciating pain to bring babies into the world, and no one was allowed near the tree with the fruit that brings eternal life. The consequences seemed to follow every bad choice ever made by a human being. By the time of Noah, things were so bad that even the earth was considered corrupt; natural disasters were starting to occur. Even the earth had to pay the consequences for our sin. I remember reading about that in the Bible.
"Now the earth was corrupt in God's sight and was full of violence." (Ge 6:11)
Human cells must have started to become corrupt then, too; cells decayed and died until the person was dead, usually of old age. The deaths recorded in Genesis happened at younger and younger ages as time progressed, and the first record of disease or illness of any kind was in Exodus. By the time Jesus came along, mental illness, leprosy and other crippling diseases abounded that were never mentioned before. It seems even worse today, with more illnesses than can be listed even in a volume as large as the Bible itself, many having such similar symptoms to each other, extensive testing has to be done to figure out exactly which disease an ill person may have. I don't think I know anyone who hasn't been diagnosed with some form of disease or handicap, although there are treatments out now that allow those with even the most serious of diseases some form of quality of life. Could it be that the first sin, and every sin since it, has resulted in our degenerating state? If this is true, I now see why Jesus had to die on the cross. If sacrifices washed away some sin, then God sacrificing Himself through His Son would be the only way to wash away all sin. But the Bible says it's only effective upon our acceptance of it.
"Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come.." (Ro 5:14)
I think I see now; God doesn't want you to hurt me. It hurts Him, too. He wants you to stop as much as I want you to. He loves you as much as I love you; as much as I want to love you. I do love you, but I hate you; no, I realize now, I'm just very angry with you. Thinking of what you have done to me causes me to rage inside. I wonder, does it cause God the same kind of rage? Is he as angry, or more angry than I am with you? Is that kind of anger possible?
"'I hate divorce,' says the Lord God of Israel, 'and I hate a man's covering himself with violence as well as with his garment,' says the Lord Almighty. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith." (Mal 2:16)
I know I will have to forgive you someday, but it's too hard to even think about right now. I'm too angry with you now. Maybe God will help me work through this, so I can forgive you someday, but right now it's just not going to happen. My anger has been misplaced all this time. God, I'm so sorry for being angry at you; it's really my abuser I should be angry with, and no one else. Please forgive me, and help me to forgive also. I'm sorry, Lord. I do love You. Thank You for showing me the truth.
"Send forth your light and your truth, let them guide me; let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell." (Ps 43:3)
*All Scripture references are taken from the NIV.
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